Gunmen who seized a Chinese tourist on the Malaysian island of Sabah last week are demanding the equivalent of HK$87 million (US$11.22 million) for his release, the Apple Daily reported Friday, citing media reports quoting Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi.
A team has been dispatched to southern Philippines to negotiate with emissaries of the abductors, who are demanding 500 million pesos, more than a week after tourist Gao Huan Yuan was grabbed in Semporna, Sabah, on April 2, along with a Filipina hotel worker, Zahid told reporters.
However, Beijing Times reported Friday that China’s Consulate General in Kuching, capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, said it had not received any information about a ransom.
According to media reports, the ransom demand was significantly higher than in previous cases involving foreign hostages by the same group, believed to be members of the militant Abu Sayyaf group from southern Philippines.
Last year, the family of a female tourist from Taiwan, who was also abducted in Sabah, was said to have paid the equivalent of HK$2.09 million to get her back after 36 days of abduction, the report said.
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